Anxiety/Worry, Control, Faith/Spirituality, Patience/waiting, Trust

“Sick and tired…”

Regardless of what you think of Bill Cosby, you have to admit that he has some pretty hilarious insights into parenting. When I was little we had a cassette tape of Bill Cosby, “Himself”. He did a little bit about How his mother was always “sick and tired” of this and “sick and tired” of that. And how tired always followed sick. He said, “worst beating of my life, my mother said ‘I am just sick…’ and I added ‘…and tired’. 😬

Well, I too am “sick and tired”. I am sick and tired of waiting (see previous blogs on Waiting to get a fuller picture of my battle with waiting) Because even though waiting implies that one is inactive and biding one’s time, it is actually much more involved and requires a lot of energy that I don’t always have. One definition of waiting is “to remain stationary in readiness or expectation.” Another is “to look forward expectantly or hold back expectantly.” Did you catch the repetition of the word expectant? In other words, you are waiting for what is being waited on. You might be waiting for a train that is coming (looking forward expectantly) or waiting for a chance to strike (holding back expectantly). Either way you look at it, waiting is actually a pretty intentional and intense state of being.

You may be wondering what I am sick and tired of waiting for. On the surface, it has to do with the fact that for 5 whole days I have been exercising and watching what I eat and drink to the point of sacrifice-and I haven’t shed one single solitary pound. Some might argue that it isn’t all about the weight. I had that argument as well. So I measured my arms, legs, belly, etc. Nope. Nada. Exactly the same. And sheesh, after 5 days, shouldn’t their be some reward? But like I said, that’s just the surface stuff. There are several other areas of my life that I am starting to getting impatient about. My timing and God’s timing just don’t seem to be coinciding. Most likely because my timing is always “by the weekend”.

As I mentioned, another component of waiting is the thing we are waiting for. Unfortunately, we usually have hopes and desires for what that will look like, but know that ultimately we can’t control the outcome. At least when it comes to changing ourselves. All we can do is the footwork, the inner-self-soul-work and see what happens. Just because we read, pray, study, and practice living a spiritually and emotionally healthy lifestyle, it doesn’t guarantee that the results will meet our expectations. Our marriage may not improve in the areas we want it to. Our friendships might need to be altered or abandoned. Our job might not be salvageable. Our kids may still rebel or refuse to reconcile with us. We simply can’t control that “thing” that is being waited for; the results that are yet unrealized.

Boy. Now we are all super-depressed. 😔

It’s just a truth of life that “time takes time” and even as we wait for the fulfillment of that “time”, we wait with expectation. It doesn’t mean we need to stew and worry about what is to come, it means we do what we can and leave the results up to God. Trusting that His timing is perfect and remembering that there are other people in the world whose lives might depend on the timing of mine (Imagine that! The world doesn’t revolve around me?!?!) are a couple practices that bring me to a place of acceptance for where my life is today.

I don’t have to like waiting for positive changes. But I can choose to live with a state of mind that accepts that time can’t be rushed.  That I have very little control over the exact results, but that I can continue to participate in the practices that might eventually bring about positive changes in my own little world.

Without the perspective that comes from trusting that a Power greater than ourselves (who I call God) has a plan that weaves my little Heather-plans together with all of your plans to fulfill His plans, we will indeed be “sick and tired.”

Addiction, Anxiety/Worry, Brokenness, Cancer, Control, Faith/Spirituality, fear, Patience/waiting, Relationships

Timing is everything

“The waiting is hardest part.” -Tom Petty (1950-2017)

It feels like it’s been a long time since I wrote last. Which is interesteing to me since I have been reflecting on the concept of “time and timing” over the past few days. These thoughts on timing came to me in a very profound and illuminating way as I sat on my couch…admiring my fingernails. They are rockin’ right now! They are long and strong and borderline dangerous to myself and others. But, this hasn’t been the case for the past two years. I think it was the chemo that caused my nails to be flimsy and splitting. They hardly grew at all, but if they did, they would soon peel or break. The perplexing thing is, I haven’t even been doing anything to remedy that problem. And all of a sudden, they are back to normal. It’s like my body finally got rid of whatever was in me that was causing them to shatter. Nothing profound, it was simply “time”.

Since then, everything I read seems to point me to time and timing. The longer I live, the more aware I am that so much of life is all about timing. Which is unfortunate, because I want what I want and I usually want it right now. I want to work out and be in shape by tomorrow or at least by the weekend. I want to read a self-help book and be organized, efficient and succcessful by the time I finish chapter one. And those are the simple wants. I also want to pray for the people I am worried or stressed about and see results in a reasonable amount of time (I like to be fair and give God a few weeks). I try my best to understand why some people seem to get “better” quicker than others. Whether it’s from cancer or mental illness or addiction or any kind of stronghold. The big question for me seems to be “how long, Oh Lord?”.

There is a saying in Recovery Programs that has a good answer for those who lament not arriving in the Program sooner. Someone new thinks of all the years they suffered alone, without any tools or people who understood their pain. An old-timer will tell them,  “you got here right on time.” Because timing is everything. If you show up before your soul is reading and willing to hear and receive help, it will fall on deaf ears. I think it’s this way in all of life, really. The Bible uses a couple phrases that indicate that there is a time for everything (not only from the populace song from Ecclesiastes and John Lennon telling us there is a time be born, a time to die, a time to kill and a time to heal, etc.). One is “the fullness of time” and the other is “for such a time as this”. Both imply that there are certain events and attitudes that have to be established before something can happen. Until all the pieces are in place, the results won’t come.

We have such limited knowledge and access to what those pieces look like. They are an accumulation of interactions, relationships, behaviors and choices of thousands of people. We are interwoven with one another in ways we will never know, yet will still be effected by. The ripples run far and wide.

This is helpful for me to remember because, as I said, I like to see some progress. I hate waiting (check out a previous blog on how i am a terrible Waiter). I read something the other day (because, of course, God gave me about 4 different readings that all addressed “time”. He is funny like that!) where the author said, “How often I still find myself impatient with the pace of life.  But today, when things don’t happen according to my schedule, I can accept that there may be a reason…I can keep in mind that waiting time does have to mean wasted time. Even times of stillness have lessons to teach me…I can accept the pace of change today, knowing it will bring both times of active involvement and periods of quiet waiting.”

My need to be in control severely hinders me from being a better Waiter. I want to control how other people change, how my circumstances change, how I change and most importantly at what rate it all happens. My need for immediate gratification doesn’t help either. “Now” is one of my favorite words.

An excerpt from Streams in the Desert says it this way: “Waiting on him exercises your gift of grace and tests your faith. Therefore, continue to wait in hope, for though the promise may linger, it will never come too late”. When I try to rush results or manipulate circumstances to go my way or on my agenda, I show complete lack of trust in God’s plan and demonstrate and exaggerated view of my own. Today I will let God set the pace.

But I trust in you, O lord; I say “you are my God, my times are in your hands.”
Psalm 31:14,15

Addiction, Anxiety/Worry, Cancer, Patience/waiting, Trust, Uncategorized

“Don’t Give Up Until the Miracle Happens”

 

Have you ever heard the motivational slogan “Don’t give up until the miracle happens”? What miracle is that exactly? I am beginning to think I should give up; give up wishing and hoping for God to work things out according to my Will. Give up holding out for the miracle I ordered. In more simplistic, every-day terms, “things aren’t necessarily going badly, just because they aren’t going my ‘way’”. I pray for specifics on occasion, but I am realizing more and more that I need to hold the outcome loosely. Not because I doubt God’s willingness or ability to give me that exact answer, but because I trust that His answer is based on His ability to see the past, present and future all at once and he knows what’s best for all involved. I only see my tiny sliver of time and the immediate effects of the outcome. He sees ripples that go on for years. And He was involved in all the baby steps and seemingly insignificant choices and events that lead a person to the exact manifestation of their miracle.

And yet, I desperately want Him to just give me my miracle; my way and right this very minute. Sometimes I feel very weary from the waiting. But, when I am spiritually fit, I am fully aware and accepting of the fact that the specific “miracle” I am waiting for may never actually come. Maybe it’s time for me to start noticing the miracles God is providing now rather awaiting in anticipation for the one to come. “Waiting in anticipation” actually makes me sound a bit more mature about it than I really am. My waiting looks more like a spastic, obnoxious, wild-child in the back seat of a car on a long road trip: “Are we there yet? How about now? Or now? How much longer?  She’s looking at me again! His feet are on my half of the car!”. The Psalmist sounds pretty similar when he cries out, “How long, Oh Lord?”. What we are really asking when we pose that question to God, is “How long before you give me what I want?”.

Yesterday, as I was considering writing on “not giving up until the miracle happens”, a friend sent me a reading that I took as a sign that God was giving me the thumbs up. It’s from a daily Meditation book appropriately named “24 Hours a Day” and was dated the exact day God had already got me thinking about miracles…”You cannot see the future. It’s a blessing that you cannot. You could not bear to know all the future. That is why God only reveals it to you day by day. The first step each deal is to lay your will before God as an offering, ready for God to do what is best for you. Be sure that, if you trust God, what He does for you will be for the best. The second step is to be confident that God is powerful enough to do anything He wills, and that no miracle in human lives is impossible with Him. Then leave the future to God.”

So, I guess it’s not a bad idea to “not give up until the miracle happens”, but we have a much better chance of experiencing it if we let God choose the miracle that is best for us. And for others. I barely know what’s best for me on most days, and I certainly don’t know what’s best for other people. If I trust Him, He will do “immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine.” His miracles supersede what my mind can even begin to fathom.

Instead of holding out for God to comply with my Will (my desires, my hopes, my miracle requests) for myself and others, maybe, at least for the next 24 hours, I can determine to comply with His.

Anxiety/Worry, Control, Patience/waiting, Uncategorized

Waiting

I am a terrible Waiter. In college I attempted to wait tables as a job. Disasterous. I would either bug my table to death or forget about them entirely. By the end of the night I always seemed to owe money rather than make money. It was really not a good fit for my “giftedness.”

I am still a terrible “Waiter.” I hate waiting. It feels so unproductive and, well, lazy. The old adage, “don’t just sit there. Do something!”  has been wisely challenged in my recovery brain: “Don’t just DO something. Sit there!.. “. Sometimes activity makes me feel like I have some say. Some control. We wait for many things: we wait for test results, for healing, for recovery, for a family, for the right person to come along, for the wrong person to leave, for people to change, for us to change, for someone to get sober, for the time we will see our loved ones who died and left us here. I wait for my next hospital stay, for my hair to grow back,  to start selling houses again, to exercise like a normal person, for the news about whether I need more chemo or a transplant. I wait to get sick, I wait to recover, to see if I can go in public or have to stay home or need to get a blood transfusion. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Eddie Lowen, tha pastor at Westside talked about this Sunday. I like his honest re-interpretation of Psalm 40:1…”I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. ” He said that for him it would say something more like, “I waited IMPATIENTLY for the Lord, he turned to me and heard my WHINING.” That sounds about right for me too. I often plead, “How long, oh Lord? How long must I wait for….?”

As soon as I opened my eyes this morning I had this thought regarding waiting: There’s a big difference between waiting FOR and waiting ON. It occurred to me that waiting ON is what you do while you are waiting FOR. Waiting ON is about serving others. Waiting FOR is about ME getting what I want when I want it. Waiting ON is a wonderful way to get outside our own plans, desires and wishes and focus on GOD’s plans, desires and wishes. Waiting ON means that even though I have Leukemia, I can still send a note to a friend who is struggling, visit someone in the hospital, or set up coffee with someone who I know is hurting. This makes the waiting FOR time a sweet time. A “get to” rather than a “have to”. I think I might have more to say on waiting but for now, I need to get dressed to head to my bone marrow biopsy. I only GET TO wait 45 more minutes. 🙂